Simeone praises Torres' strong influence at Atletico
Diego Simeone hopes Fernando Torres continues to be a strong influence on Atletico Madrid’s younger forwards as his second spell at the club apparently ticks down.
Torres appears set to move on from the Vicente Calderon with Atleti showing little desire to convert his 18-month loan move from AC Milan into a permanent deal.
The 31-year-old ended a long wait for his 100th goal in Atleti colours when he sealed last weekend's 3-1 win over Eibar - his 99th having come against the same opponents back in September.
At a media conference ahead of Sunday's trip to Getafe in La Liga, Simeone was asked whether a side-effect of Jackson Martinez's surprise transfer to Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao was to spur confidence in Torres - a similarly forlorn figure this season.
Simeone rejected this notion, saying one of the reasons Martinez moved on was to grant increased opportunities to youngsters Luciano Vietto and Angel Correa - a duo he believes Torres can help to mould.
"Jackson came out of the squad to empower the kids we have," head coach Simeone explained.
"Torres is a forward who can act as a reference for Vietto, who is doing well. Correa is growing and with [Antoine] Griezmann there is an interesting mix.
"Torres is in good shape physically and hopefully he plays a good game on Sunday."
Getafe lie 12th in La Liga having lost their past three matches, but second-place Atletico will not be taking them lightly.
"I do not consider this match a formality," Simeone added. "You have to know what difficulties the rival can bring. I think, from midfield onwards, they have interesting players.
"It is one of the finals we have ahead of us. We will try to play with the humility and intensity that has characterised us."